Ansoumana ‘Vieux’ Bakayoko is a ‘djembefola’ (djembe player) from West Africa. From mixed Malian and Guinean heritage he spent his childhood in Senegal before travelling across the Mandeng lands of Mali, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and back to Senegal learning from the great drum masters of the age.
Leaving home at the age of twelve, he travelled widely, accumulating knowledge which now singles him out amongst his peers, his unique repertoire gained by living and learning with the many and varied ethnic tribes of the great West African nations.
Vieux himself is from the Bambara ethnic group, part of the great Mandeng empire. His mother is from northern Guinea and his father from southern Mali, many of his family remain in the small villages he left behind to travel and pursue his craft. The Malinke (Bamabara) are widely regarded as the kings of this great musical tradition.
As a teenager and then a young man he worked hard to gain respect and renown as a ‘Ballet’ soloist and musical director for many great West African troupes. A style developed and made popular in the cultural revolution of the 1960’s in Guinea, the ballet is a great exposition of the combined talents of the West African music and dance traditions. Music, dance, theatre and song come together to produce complex, lyrical and exciting performances relaying tales from traditional village life.
Since arriving in the UK in 2006, Vieux has brought his incredible talent and energy to UK audiences through his powerful performance company Hamana. Founded and directed by Vieux, the troupe features some of the best UK and West African drummers and dancers and is in demand across the country for its explosive and complex performances of the ‘ballet’.
Vieux is also a great teacher, bringing excitement and incredible knowledge to all his classes, workshops and residences. He works with professional musicians, students and school children, always offering honesty, passion and true creativity to everyone he meets.
He has provided performances and workshops for the best international clients including festivals, arts centres, corporate events and more, his clients include Womad festival, BBC Radio, Korea International Festival of Art, Warwick Arts Centre, Rhythms of the World Festival, Acoustic Festival of Britain, Stratford Fringe Festival and many many more.
Vieux and his group recording M’Bolokang in Senegal, April 2011
Vieux’s debut album is now available to buy. Visit the Shop to buy a CD.